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October 18, 2015

"THE TESTIMONY OF THOMAS"

TEXT: John 20: 24-31
READING:
 Isaiah 25: 1-12

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SUBJ: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ correcting the unbelief of Thomas and the manner of recognition that comes to those who believe as did Thomas.

AIM: That we might be found in such a way as to be “not faithless, but believing.”

INTR: In His revelation to Mary Magdalene, our Lord had declared Himself thusly: “I ascend unto my Father and your Father; and to my God and your God.” He would now confirm a pattern of recognition of His own deity in the testimony of a doubting believer.
1. There are certain essentials to true faith and the deity of Christ is one that heads the list.
2. We have noted the difficulty experienced by all the disciples to believe that He had risen and to understand how all these things connected to bring Kingdom salvation.
3. While we often think of this incident only in terms of the doubting of Thomas, it in dealing with him that the Lord elicits the true concept of faith in Himself as Lord and God.

THESIS: The evidence which convinced Thomas is the same evidence which true faith brings to bear in receiving all the facts of the death burial and resurrection of Christ along with the realization that He is both Lord and Christ and that He is God manifest in the flesh – salvation personified.

I. The adamant unbelief of Thomas (vv. 24-25)
1. His identity as one of the original twelve confirmed that he had witnesses all that the others had seen and experienced in His presence which included the prediction of the recent events.
1) Specifically identified as Thomas called Didymus (the twin).
2) It has been suggested that he might have been a twin brother of one of the others??
2. His absence at the appearance on Resurrection day is a subject of much speculation as to why, the effect, and the application to opportunities for grace missed.
1) Many suggest that he was at fault for being absent
2) The Scripture is silent concerning these things and we will be likewise!
3. What is significant here is that he strongly rejects the testimony of the others.
1) His conditions are rigid and reinforced with “Except I shall see and …”
2) His statement is clear. It was not that he said “I do not believe;” it is rather he said “I will not believe.” SO MUCH FOR FREEWILL!
4. He would endure another week in doubt and unbelief and misery.

II. The confrontation with Thomas (vv. 26-28)
1. The disciples were again gathered behind closed doors; it was probably for the same reason.
2. Thomas was present this time as the Lord appeared in much the same way as before with some notable differences.
1) Before we read that He showed them His hands and His side
2) But, in an act of gracious condescension and challenge He invites Thomas to do as he had demanded in his rejection.
i. Again, we note, and Thomas knew of His omniscience.
ii. There is no doubt that Thomas further knew and was convicted by the insight that the Lord had into His heart – a sense lost on the part of many in this day among believers and non-believers as well.
3. We are not told whether he actually did as our Lord invited – Jesus made reference to him seeing and believing.
4. The directive is to a life of faith – “be not faithless…”
5. The revelation to Thomas was profound and life shaking – Some insist that this came in conjunction with full obedience to the command of Christ:
1) We can only imagine the touching of those Sacred Wounds and
2) What might have gone through his mind as he touched Him in that way?
6. What is certain is that Thomas now knew that Jesus was both His Lord and His God and so must we see Him in that way.

III. The rebuke of Thomas and the commendation of faith (v. 29)
1. “Because you have seen me…”
1) It was in fact true faith and accredited by our Lord
2) The traditional account of his life takes him to India where he was martyred about 72 AD
2. Make no mistake the experience of Thomas is reproduced in all who come to Christ. They are compelled to behold the wounds of Christ and see them more accurately than did Thomas.
1) We do well to often contemplate these precious tokens of redemption;
2) And we do well to bear witness of them to all who will hear and know of the necessity of all aspects of the Gospel.

IV. The Apostle’s reason of the things included here (vv. 30-31)
1. While all the signs of our Lord are considered and the reference to the vast number of things not included is important, he seems to lay particular emphasis on the things most recently mentioned and perhaps to other post-resurrection signs.
2. But the intent is that we believe, as did Thomas that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God…” and that salvation is believing and having life through His Name!